Epic Conversations Episode 2: Jonah’s Grand Entrance

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It’s here! Our second episode of Epic Conversations!

The conversations are so epic that it takes an epic amount of time for each one to get recorded…and even some more time to actually edit…and then to post.

Anywho, here’s the episode summary:

This episode is all about Jonah! Ryan and Joel discuss the newest addition to the Epic Conversations family.

Epic Conversations is available on iTunes, Overcast, Pocketcasts, Anchor.fm or subscribe directly to our feed.

We hope you enjoy this Epic Conversation!

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Love of Country: Update 2

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Love of Country

Love of Country: Update

In my best Prof. Farnsworth voice from Futurama, “Good news, everyone!”

(Well, hopefully.)

From Vox:

A federal judge in Washington, DC, has just reopened the door a crack to young unauthorized immigrants who qualified for relief from deportation and work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the Trump administration wound down in September.


But the administration has 90 days to shut that door again.


But there’s hope (emphasis mine).

Judge Bates went further. His ruling would force the Trump administration to allow immigrants who qualify for DACA — by being between the ages of 15 and 31, having arrived in the US before 2007, being enrolled in school or having a degree, and not having a significant criminal record — to apply for work permits even if they never applied before September 2017.

That’s fantastic news but with the caveat that it won’t go into effect for 90 days. And in that time, the administration can still shut the door. But (and that’s a big but) if this goes through, the Center for American Progress estimates that as of March 5, 23,000 immigrants have become DACA-eligible. That is an astonishing number.

Remember, these are kids who were brought to the United States of America, through no choice of their own, illegally. Here are the requirements:

  • They were younger than 18 years old on the date of their initial entry to the United States
  • Have proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16
  • Have proof of residence in the United States for at least four consecutive years since their date of arrival
  • If male, have registered with the Selective Service
  • Be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of bill enactment
  • Have graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, or been admitted to an institution of higher education
  • Be of good moral character

Hopefully, those in Washington can make the right decision to help these children. If they don’t, well, there’s an election in November.

I’m in Awe

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Time flies when you don’t get much sleep. Jonah will be one month old on Saturday and it has been an adventure. There have been challenges but also an incredible amount of memorable moments and realizations.

The first realization is that I have become much more prone to become emotional than before. I was on twitter 1 and saw a video that a father, who was recently diagnosed with ALS, made for his son. It starts with him saying, “By the time you’re watching this…” and I had to stop it. No way was I going to start bawling my eyes out. That was in a span of 30 seconds.

The second, and probably more critical, realization is that I am in awe of the strength of my wife. This past month has not been easy. Unless the 1994 film Junior is actually a documentary, I will never truly understand the physical, emotional, and mental toll that having a child puts on women.

There has been more than one occasion where I have had to change Jonah’s diaper several times within a span of 20 minutes, and by diaper 4 I tell Jonah, “Are you freaking kidding me?” And I hear Claudia calmly say, “Don’t get frustrated with him, he’s just a baby.” She shows the utmost poise and self-control.

She is the one who stays with him all day and tends to his every need. She is the one who wakes up in the middle of the night to feed him. She has this gear that I didn’t know she had. Don’t get me wrong, I knew she was capable, that’s one of the several reasons I married her, but this is something else. It’s like when you hear about those people who can lift a car off of their child. I can ultimately see Claudia doing that, without hesitation.

And I can see her heart is full.

And I’m incredibly blessed.

Journey to Jonah

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I now know what it means when people say “it’s been a whirlwind” because that’s how the past three weeks have been. My son’s arrival was both expected and not. We knew he was going to come but when the doctor says “let’s go” you don’t have time to let it all sink in. You have to react and, well, go.

And how did we get here?

Since Claudia was so close to her due date, she had had weekly visits with her doctor. Usually, she goes in, gets checked out, and gets sent home. The week prior though, the doctor tells her that she needs to stop working. The plan was for her to work up until she had Jonah so she wouldn’t use up too much of her maternity leave, but ok, whatever is best for the baby.

I get a call from Claudia towards the end of my work day and she says that the doctor wants to go ahead and induce. She wasn’t due until Saturday but ok, let’s go.

I get to the hospital a little while later and find out that doctor wants to check in on us again at 4:00 AM to see what we’re going to do. The couch I’m on turns into a semi-comfortable bed and we hunker down for the evening.

4:00 AM rolls around and I’m woken up by the doctor saying we need to get moving.

4:35 AM, I’m a dad.


Mr. Krab

Wait, what?


It was that fast.

The joy that overcame me was like something I’ve never felt before. People told me about it but experiencing it was overwhelming. I was also in a state of disbelief. He was finally here. Now what? How are we going to be as parents? We’re “prepared” in that we have things but are we really prepared? If the past three weeks have been any indication, more than I thought.

While we may not know exactly what to do in every situation, we’re prepared in the sense that we know we’ve got it. My approach to parenting is the same as my approach to pretty much anything in life. I may not know everything going in, but I know I’m going to do my best because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. At all. I have an amazing wife who takes the brunt of the responsibility, but she would agree. I think the key is that it is so fulfilling to have the little one in my arms. Yeah, he may not want to go to sleep at 3:00 AM, and he may cry like there’s no tomorrow when we’re changing his diaper.

But it’s worth it.

Epic Conversations

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Remember when I said I’m a fiddler? Well, I went ahead and fiddled. You may notice I spruced things up a bit. Take a look around, it’s still a work in progress but I’m pretty happy with it.

When I’m not busy having an adorable child, I’m out recording podcasts with John Ryan Cantu.

We knew the world was begging to hear our thoughts on anything and everything, so we decided to create Epic Conversations.

What is it about? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Welcome to Epic Conversations! The show that gets deep, shallow, serious, funny, emotional, and quirky all in one conversation. We cover anything from family life, work, ministry, politics, theology, hobbies, and just life in general. We welcome you to be a part of our laid back EPIC conversation.

Our very first episode, aptly titled, “Our Very First Episode” was recorded one week before Jonah was born so listen in on the epic conversation we had regarding fatherhood and what to expect.

Epic Conversations is available on iTunes1, Overcast2Anchor.fm, Pocket Casts, and even Google Home and Apple HomePod. Just say “Hey Siri/Google, play Epic Conversations podcast.” I haven’t tried those two yet since I don’t have either, but I can imagine that it’s pretty epic. Or you can subscribe by adding our feed (https://anchor.fm/s/2e467c0/podcast/rss) to your favorite podcast player.

We hope you enjoy our first of many Epic Conversations.

Listen Here

The day has come

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Today’s post is a short one but the most important one so far.

My firstborn son, Jonah Zechariah made his debut on Wednesday, March 21 at 4:35am.

I don’t know what God has in store for us but I know I will do my best to be the best father I can be to him.

Welcome, son. We’ve been waiting for you.

Holding Pattern

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That’s pretty much where we are now, in a holding pattern, just waiting for our son to come. My wife is due in 8 days and we’re ready to roll.

Bags are packed.

Car seat base installed in both cars.

Stroller ready.

Room ready.

Diapers ready. Oh, the diapers. We probably have close to 1,000 diapers.

Doorbell camera to screen any visitors.

Outdoor security camera to catch any shenanigans going on outside. I already caught one person up to no good.

New f/1.8 35mm lens for my camera to document all of the memories.

Four terabyte hard drive to store all of the high-res photos as well as the high definition video.

He’s due the 24th. My money is on him coming a little bit earlier, on the first day of spring. Spring. Rejuvenation. Rebirth. Everything’s blooming.1

We’re ready, Jonah, and we can’t wait to meet you.

Investing in Others

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My son is only two weeks away. That is pretty unbelievable. Claudia and I are overwhelmed with excitement to meet him. She’s a little bit more excited because she’s so incredibly over being pregnant. She has constant back pain and is tired because he moves during the night and wakes her up.

The good thing is that once he’s born, she’ll finally get the rest she needs. Right? Because he’ll always be asleep? Why would the saying “Sleeps like a baby” exist if that wasn’t true?

Now that we’re so close, it’s easy to see the love we’ve received from others. We are incredibly blessed to have had more than a few baby showers, and the guys even did a diaper bash for me. Again, incredibly thankful.

We were leaving church this past Sunday and as I was putting more gifts that we’ve received in the car when Sue, a lady who lives in the neighborhood, came up to me. Sue has lived near the church for a number of years and has visited us a few times and has quite the story which I may write about at a later time. If you didn’t know who she was, you would think she was homeless, which she might be at times.

Sue comes up to me and asks if we’re the ones who had a baby shower the week before. I reply yes.

“Here. For the baby,” she says as she extends her hand with a crumpled up $5 bill.

I’m loading up my trunk with boxes of diapers and more gifts and Sue is here offering the little money that she has.

“Oh no. I can’t take that. We have more than enough. Thank you, though.”

“You sure? Ok,” she says as she leaves and goes about her business.

Dang it, Sue. Thanks for slapping me in the face with a bible. I know there are several times when I could have been a better Christian to someone in need. And I’m not referring only to people asking for money. I mean someone who might only need a word of encouragement or a show of support. Or maybe just stop to have a conversation and spend some time with them.

This is something that I want to teach my son. We need to invest in others in whichever way we can. But I know that I need to make sure to learn that first.

Love of Country: Update

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I’ve written about immigration and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) before because, being a first generation American, immigration is something I hold near and dear.

The fate of DACA wasn’t clear as it was being decided in the courts but things were looking a little bit better.

From Axios

A federal judge in New York ruled today that while the Trump administration has the right to rescind DACA, it has not provided sufficient legal reasons to do so and thus the program must remain in place while a legal battle plays out. A judge in California made a similar ruling last month.

It then went to the Supreme Court where they decided if the self-imposed termination of the original executive order might have violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Turns out the Supreme Court wouldn’t even hear the case because the administration tried to skip the court of appeals and go straight to the top.

By rejecting the administration’s request, the Supreme Court isn’t saying anything about the merits of the DACA program itself, or about the legal arguments over the Trump administration’s decision to end it. It’s just insisting that the case proceed the normal way, with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing the administration’s appeal of the California judge’s order (and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on the East Coast hearing an appeal of a similar order issued in February by a New York judge).

So they’re good? Not really.

From CNN

So does this mean DACA recipients have nothing to worry about?

That’s a question immigrant rights advocates answer with a resounding, “No.”

They’ve been campaigning hard online and in the streets to make the case that things are still dire.

Even though DACA recipients can still renew their protections, advocates say many could find themselves in limbo. Inevitably, they argue, some recipients’ renewal applications won’t be processed before their current work permits and other protections expire.

On another frustrating note, 20,000 immigrants who have applied for DACA before September 2017, when the government stopped taking new applications, haven’t been processed.

As stated in the article

That’s 177 days that immigrants haven’t been able to get a job in the US legally because the work permits they applied for before September haven’t come through. It’s 177 days that they’ve had to worry about being stopped by police and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It seems like there’s a new political issue every day1 so it may feel like Dreamers are taking a back seat. That’s something we can’t let happen. Do what you can by contacting your elected officials. Don’t know who they are? Don’t worry, I got you.

And if you don’t like what they do, vote.